x_los: (On A Ship)
Avast, here be some notes for an informal presentation I be givin' later today on 2001 and "how you 'read' the film in our context - what are your thoughts about the way Kubrick takes up the idea of 'epic' and the 'epic hero' (evolution, journey of discovery, exploration, relationship of modernity with antiquity; the idea of history; fate.... whatever the film invites YOU to think about."

* "About the best we've been able to come up with is a space
Odyssey--comparable in some ways to the Homeric Odyssey," said Mr
Kubrick. "It occurred to us that for the Greeks the vast stretches of
sea had the same sort of mystery and remoteness that space has for our
generation, and the far flung islands Homer's wonderful characters
visited were no less remote to them than the planets our spacemen will
be soon be landing on are to us. Journey also shares with the Odyssey
a concern for wandering, exploration and adventure." Mr. Clarke
agreed...space is an endless source of knowledge, which may transform
our civilization in the same sense that the voyages of the Renaissance
transformed the Dark ages.

("Beyond the Stars," Jeremy Bernstein, The New Yorker Magazine (1965)
reprinted in "The Making of Kubrick's 2001," ed. Jeremy Agel (1970) p.
25)"

-Is Clarke grasping the historicity of this? Weirdly old-school view of the Renaissance.

* Given that the film was written contemporaneously with the novel, and based on Clark's earlier short stories, it's at least as important to talk about his vision here as Kubrick's.

* Kubrick's best work is adapting relatively current novels--Shining/King, Clockwork Orange/Burgess, 2001/Clark, Lolita/Nabakov (Full Metal Jacket/Hasford, Spartacus/Fast, Eyes Wide Shut/Schnitzler, Dr. strangelove/George). "Kubrick often had an antagonistic relationship with the writers with whom he collaborated. Arthur C. Clarke was upset that Kubrick's actions caused the delay of the publication of his novel "2001: A Space Odyssey" so that it appeared the book was a novelization of the film rather that the film an adaptation of the book as the pair had agreed. Anthony Burgess was appalled that he was called on to defend "A Clockwork Orange" when Kubrick refused to as the film contradicted the message of his novel. Stephen King was so upset by Kubrick's variations from his novel that he commissioned a new film version of 'The Shining'. "

* Taymore largely directs things with a rich tradition of adaptation--Kubrick seems to work best /in the context of translation theory/. (No one talks about Killer's Kiss or Fear and Desire.) He seems to find his voice through others.

* Is there something of the nature of talmudic commentary in this? Kubrick is, after all, a Jewish director looking at some very goy texts.

* In Clockwork, the visual language he creates stands in for Burgess' dense nest of creole and neo-logistic language.

* You want to think of the grand old futurists like Clarke and Roddenberry as pure liberal, benign thinkers, but the sinister music underpinning Kubrick's depiction of the aliens belies the sinister quality to these encounters (he uses music like this in the Shining as well). The unexamined Western assumptions and prerogatives that underlie this supposedly egalitarian vision of the future. Is this in some ways a colonization narrative? The aliens give an Enlightenment no one asked them for--information which cannot be unknown. The evolved ape uses the knowledge to kill the hogs his tribe had lived in peace with, and then to kill the leader of a rival tribe. Ishmael Quinn wouldn't be pleased. In the book the Star Child destroys and absorbs the energy of nuclear weapons on Earth. This is pretty controlling and undemocratic--a glorious fascism of the technologically advanced. And who's to privilege this degree of moral control over whatever choices the humans were making before? People live, perhaps, who wouldn't have, but it all begs the question of why the aliens are doing this. Is this a Missionary activity? Creating long term future trading partners--not necessarily in an economic sense, perhaps, but in a technological/cultural sense? Not all power imbalances are about economic resources. If Roddenbery's Prime Directive is questionable, this is too.

* The lack of women/their support roles here, excepting the three female doctors named (minor characters), from the enemy camp, is distracting.

* Structurally this is a lot like the Odyssey--big, seemingly disjointed chunks--a bildungsroman and then the Quest and a Journey With Incidents and finally the return home.

* Perhaps the only straight forward parallels are there in the structure, and in the Intelligence of our final hero, who becomes Star Child--his long wander away from his wife and child. The unfathomable caprice of the alien gods. Maybe the transmission signal is a siren, listened to.
x_los: (Not My Real Dad)
What.
The fuck.
Is up.
With the ending of the Odyssey.
It just...
That's not even a good CHAPTER ending.
That's like 'PEACE IT'S DINNER.'

So here we are at page four FUCKING HUNDRED and 85-- Athena's being Discreet atm, and has disguised herself as Some Dudeus, who people vaguely know, so it's not a whole OMG WTF PALLAS MOTHERFUCKING ATHENA?! every time she walks into the room.

SO HERE'S THE ENDING OF ONE OF HISTORY'S GREATEST BOOKS:

"So she commanded. He obeyed her, glad at heart.
And Athena handed down her pacts of peace
between both sides for all the years to come--
the daughter of Zeus whose shield is storm and thunder,
yes, but the goddess still kept Mentor's build and voice."

WHAT?

'And also she still looked like that other dude.' Fin.

YEAH! SUCK ON THAT! STILL WEARING A FUNNY HAT!
ATHENAAAAAA...

Christ, Athena is such a big wierdo. Always like, hiding up in your rafters Watching You Battle--she's the Ceiling Cat of ancient Greece.

On a more Al Gore note (I'm super serial, guys!!), I love this book. Previously I'd read shoddy translations, in chunks, out of order, abridged, etc., all glued together into a coherent order by common knowledge. While that added up, at various points and via various channels, to having read the whole work, I'd never properly read the thing. I find the Fagles translation as immediate as I do his Aeneid--perhaps more gripping and vital, due to the nature of the pieces in question. I love so much of the characterization--the humor, the friendship, the family ties. The Odyssey is a gorey Revenger's Tragedy, and a bitter picaresque, but it's also a bildungsroman for Telemachus, and a long, sweet tapestry of love and loyalty. I was frequently delighted reading this, I am taken by several characters--and characterization is not what I looked for from my ideas about the somewhat cold, stock, over-hearty epic tradition. I nearly cried at points.

It's difficult to break into the rhythm of the poetry while catching moments on a bus, or when distracted by worry or what have you, but when I had time to devote to this world I found myself slipping down, seeping into the lines like ink droplets bleeding into a glass of water. Once properly there, I moved at a satisfyingly brisk clip.

Telemachus is engaging enough in his introduction, and I quite liked him there. But his creepy loathing of his mother is difficult to countenance or explain away. Fagles attempts in his appendices (and his translators and authors' notes are placed and worded in such a way as to be authoritative--to the point that they lose the status of Opinions, which is kind of disingenuous on Fagles' part as an academic, even if they ARE good opinions), but ultimately its a jarring misogyny in a book that's otherwise full of empowered and interesting women.

I kind of lost the thread of his journey/the status of his crew at one point when he was recounting it on Sailor Island due to leaving Alyssa V's copy, which I was reading in NY, with Danny, having to amazon.uk a new one here, and just now starting up on it again. But that's situational rather than structural.

The last chapter is the obvious and often-remarked-upon problem-area, but other than that slowly deflating balloon of an ending, it's really not bad. The poem, in this translation, is curiously modern and filmic--perhaps it's the adaptations the teacher's flagged up for class discussion that make me think how an actor might deliver certain passages, or how a relatively straight-forward adaptation could be shot.

On a random Who note:

I like Seven more now that I've come to think of him as a hero in the Odysseus mold. Romans were never very comfortable with Odysseus--his guile, cunning, and strong sense of self-preservation read as deviousness, trickery, and lack of discipline to the more regimented, civic-minded Romans--Virgil and the antecedents of the literary tradition that bore Homer. A Roman 'Ulysses' is rather sanitized. He's less bold and less fun, more a responsible, stern family man who's fed up with shenanigans than the emotive, clever and lovable Odysseus. If I look at Seven's plotting not as some gross Cartmel totalizing that takes a perfectly decent character and then strips away all the good bits so you can have an Archetype/God, then I could see it as a Man Of Many Schemes (tm Odysseus) thing, and the habitual mendacity (or simply the lack of interest in open communication on an equal level--Seven has few he considers or treats as his equals, which is probably a deliberate production gesture to increase his personal mystique and power) would be grounded in a framework I could get on board with, and that's all much more comprehensible, touchable and sympathetic.

SO ESSENTIALLY: of my generally miserable course novels, this is, thus far, the most spirited and memorable. I'm very glad I read it, and would recommend it (specifically in this translation) very highly.
x_los: (Default)
"But Mr. Luzhin checked himself,"
--Crime and Punishment, Page 146

Thus avoiding the incalculabe shame of wrecking himself.
x_los: (Default)
"But Mr. Luzhin checked himself,"
--Crime and Punishment, Page 146

Thus avoiding the incalculabe shame of wrecking himself.

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